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Sonoelastography and transient elastography are two ultrasound-based techniques that facilitate noninvasive characterization of the viscoelastic properties of soft tissues by investigating their response to shear mechanical excitation. Young's modulus is the principle assessment parameter. Because it defines local tissue stiffness, it is of major interest for the medical imaging and cosmetic industries as it could replace subjective palpation by yielding local, quantitative information. In this paper, we describe a new high-resolution device capable of measuring local Young's modulus in very thin layers (1-5 mm) and devoted to the in vivo evaluation of the elastic properties of human skin. It uses an ultrasonic probe (50 MHz) for tracking the displacements induced by a 300 Hz shear wave generated by a ring surrounding the transducer. The displacements are measured using a conventional cross-correlation technique between successive ultrasonic back-scattered echoes. First, this noninvasive technique has been experimentally proven to be accurate for investigating elasticity in different skin-mimicking phantoms. Second, data were acquired in vivo on human forearms. As expected, Young's modulus was found to be higher in the dermis than in the hypodermis and other soft tissues.
Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:51 , Issue: 8 )
Date of Publication: Aug. 2004